Accounts - Italy
Article 2214 of the Civil Code stipulates that it is compulsory for commercial entrepreneurs and companies to keep accounts, but not for small-scale entrepreneurs.
Commercial entrepreneurs, whether a company or a physical person, must register the day-to-day operations of the company. For this purpose, it is required to keep and update certain accounting books.
Methods of accounting
According to the Civil Code, commercial entrepreneurs are required to keep:
- a daybook, which contains records of the day-to-day company operations;
- an inventory book, to be drawn up afresh at the beginning of each business year, it must include an indication of the company’s assets and liabilities;
- the dossier of correspondence (optional), which consists of the invoices, letters and telegrams, whether sent or received.
The accounting books are kept directly by the contributors in locations in which they carry out their business (registered office, administrative office, branches, etc.) or by other entities (chartered accountants, data processing centres, etc.) at their own headquarters.
Other than books stipulated in the Civil Code and direct tax provisions, there are more stipulated for commercial entrepreneurs by Italian law on the subject of VAT (Presidential Decree 633/72). For this purpose it is necessary to have:
- a registry of issued invoices;
- a daily takings book (in the case of retailers);
- a registry of received invoices (for purchases).
These records are no longer stamped or initially authenticated, but must simply be numbered progressively before use.
Management of accounts is usually performed by professional accountants. The Chambers of Commerce are a point of reference for business owners in this area.
Keeping and storing documents
With the daybook, the records must be kept according to the rules of accounting orderliness, without blank spaces or double-line spacing.
The accounting records and the mandatory books must be kept for ten years for the purposes of financial records and until there are no investigations of the corresponding tax period.
All of the records and documents, whether financial records or for tax purposes can be stored in a format which supports images (Article 7 Legislative Decree 357/94) and therefore, either with traditional archiving systems or with more recent optical disks (Ministerial Decree of January 2004).
It is possible to consult a list of officially recognised chartered accountants, as well as find information on fees, through the International Federation of Accountants.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: